April 4, 2015

EDITORIAL: A Return to the Status Quo: Indiana’s So-Called RFRA Fix

By Sarah McBride

Indiana legislators recently announced their much-anticipated fix to the state’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA. The amendment was prompted by a national outcry from businesses, faith communities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, Americans and their allies in response to the discriminatory consequences of the bill, which could nullify existing municipal sexual-orientation and gender-identity nondiscrimination protections in Indiana. With events quickly developing in the state, it is important to know exactly what the proposed fix would and would not do.

The fix would ensure that local LGBT nondiscrimination ordinances are not gutted, so LGBT Hoosiers living in jurisdictions that already have municipal nondiscrimination protections—such as Indianapolis, Bloomington, and South Bend—would not see their rights rescinded. However, it would not make it illegal to discriminate against LGBT people throughout the state. The only way to make discrimination illegal throughout Indiana is for the state legislature to pass explicit sexual-orientation and gender-identity nondiscrimination protections. The events and confusion surrounding Indiana’s RFRA reinforce the need for an immediate federal response to both clarify the federal RFRA following the Supreme Court’s recent Hobby Lobby decision and pass uniform and clear LGBT nondiscrimination protections in employment, housing, public accommodations, and other important areas of life.

Learn more about the proposed fix to Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

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